In order to increase the cold chain and warehousing infrastructure in India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has launched Central Government’s Rs 5000 Crore warehousing scheme. In July this year, the Government in its annual budget 2014-15, allocated the fund for cold chain and warehousing development. Later, Nabard was identified to implement the programme.
The project is the brainchild of the National Centre for Cold-chain Development (NCCD). NCCD in association with Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) has framed some guidelines for disbursement of the fund.
“The scheme is launched today. A fast-track window is now open for direct lending to private players by Nabard. All cold chain components, pack-houses, reefers, cold stores, add-on technologies are eligible to get lending from the scheme. Stakeholders also have expressed great interest,” Pawanexh Kohli, CEO and chief advisor, NCCD informed after a high level meeting in Mumbai.
“The industry welcomes the initiative, this proactive role of Nabard, of providing a dedicated lending to the sector. As a result, the cold chain development in the country will get a fillip,” said Sanjay Kaul, managing director, National Collateral Management Services Limited.
The meeting was also attended by Dinesh Rai, chairman, WDRA, Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, chairman of Nabard, senior official from the union ministry of food processing industries, Amul and various cold chain and warehousing companies.
Usually, Nabard refinances the states and government institutions, but the fund will be made available for anyone, including private sector companies or entrepreneurs, interested in cold chain sector. An applicant can apply at the district offices of Nabard, and it will be handled by the central office of this rural development bank.
According to Nabard, during this year, projects related with dry and wet storage will be assisted out of this fund and will have a greater focus on cold chain infrastructure. Beside state governments and government-owned entities, cooperatives, farmer producer organisations, federations, private corporate companies can also avail loans from this fund for cold chain infrastructure development.
Moreover, the state horticulture boards also provide subsidies to the cold chain projects in their respective states. Earlier, an applicant had to apply at nationalised banks for loans which was available at a rate of 14-15 percent. However, the fund released by Nabard will be available at the rate of 9.25-9.75 percent.
Another Rs 2000 Crore will be released by Nabard for food processing units in the next two weeks.